PHILADELPHIA, PA/ 12/21/2013 – In winning the Battle of 33rd Street the University of Pennsylvania Quakers set a program record in erasing a 19-point deficit beating the Drexel Dragons when senior guard Alyssa Baron was good with a short jumper that gave Penn a 46 – 44 win at the Palestra. Coach Mike McLaughlin felt the win was attributed to their ability to keep playing hard despite a bad first half.
“We showed maturity down five late,” McLaughlin said. “We knew it was down to two possessions and we did a good job executing.”
Baron was having a miserable shooting day making just one of 14 shots before she got the game-winner. She credits the confidence of her team and coach in giving her the opportunity to take that final shot.
“I was trying to fight through to the end,” said Baron. “I struggled throughout the game, but my teammates were there to pick me up, and my coach trusted me with the last shot.”
The Red and Blue made only 5 of 25 shots in the first half (20%), and only 1 – 11 from distance. Leading 13 – 7 with 9:23 to play in the half Drexel went on a 13 – 0 run taking their largest lead at 26 – 7 on a jump shot by senior guard Troy Thierolf who scored the last 7 straight in the run. Penn finally got something positive going responding to the Drexel run by closing the gap over the last 4:33 of the first half to 26 – 17.
In the second half the game turned. Drexel could not get its offense going as the Dragons made just 6 of 31 field goal attempts, 3 of 17 from beyond the arc. Penn continued to chip away at the lead and finally climbed the hill taking a 37 – 36 lead at the 6:14 mark behind 5 straight points by junior guard Renee Busch. Drexel responded with back to back three-pointers by freshman guard Alexis Smith and senor guard Fiona Flanagan with 3:58 to play. Those would be the last points Drexel would score.
The Red and Blue got the ball inside to freshman forward Sydney Stipanovich to cut the gap to 43 – 39. Junior guard Kathleen Roche made a huge three to get Penn to within 2 points. Stipanovich made a short turnaround jumper to tie the game 1:31 on the clock. The freshman rebounded a missed shot with 25 seconds to play giving Penn the deciding possession. The Red and Blue took a timeout with 13 seconds on the clock to set up the final play. Baron took the ball to the basket from the right side, drove toward the basket, and got the floater to the rim and in the basket. Drexel had one last shot as sophomore guard Rachel Pearson attempted a three-pointer that hit the rim and bounced away.
Stipanovich scored a game-high 14 points and pulled down a career-high 19 rebounds for her first double-double. Roche was the other Penn player in double figures with 11 points. Baron scored 7 points and had 10 rebounds. Smith was the only Drexel player in double figures with 13 points.
Penn improves to 5 – 2, and has won 5 in a row. Drexel is 4 – 7 this season.
Written By: Glenn Papazian